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Pontypridd’s Muni Arts Centre goes bust following financial difficulties

Muni Arts Centre. Photo: wikimedia commons Muni Arts Centre. Photo: wikimedia commons
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The Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd has closed after the company that ran it went into liquidation.

The arts centre, a converted church, has had a troubled history, closing in 2014 before being taken over by a limited company and charity as part of a community asset transfer later that year.

However, the company behind it has now gone into liquidation, forcing the closure of the building.

A statement posted on Facebook said it had been “dogged by financial difficulties” over the past three years and had been unable to realise its vision for the arts centre, which hosted music, theatre, dance and comedy events as well as a programme of classes.

The Muni shut its doors on December 22, and according to the trade union GMB, some staff working at the venue were left without pay before Christmas.

As the company has yet to be formally liquidated, it is still unable to claim pay owed or access redundancy benefits, GMB said.

Gareth Morgans, Wales and South West organiser for GMB, said: “This is completely unacceptable. It’s bad enough for staff that everything collapsed in the run up to Christmas, but then to leave them in limbo for more than two weeks is simply a disgrace.

“It just highlights the biggest issues with outsourcing public assets to voluntary trusts, there is no real accountability or scope for resources when things go wrong. Who is responsible for these staff being paid or indeed the venue going under?”

Morgans called on the local council to step in and support the staff members until the situation moves forward.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has now taken steps towards seizing possession of the arts centre from the liquidators, which it is able to do thanks to the terms of the building’s lease arrangement.

Councillor Rhys Lewis said the council was “keen to support a viable and sustainable future” for the Muni and hoped to reopen it to the public “as soon as [is] practicably possible”.

“This proactive step places the council in the position to progress discussions with interested groups, who have expressed an interest in developing a viable business model to reopen the Muni Arts Centre as an artistic entertainment venue,” he said.

The council also said it recognised continued financial support may be necessary to ensure the Muni’s survival and it would consider how it could support viable business cases for the venue.

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